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Customer Visits a Possibility With Rolling Back of Pandemic Restrictions?

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced, this week, he plans to end certain mask and vaccine mandates in hopes of restoring a sense of normalcy.

Washington Governor, Jay Inslee made a similar announcement, yesterday.

Some employers are bringing people back on limited days.

However, downtown areas in major cities tend to be ghost towns. Seattle, with no business travelers, no tourists and no office workers, certainly is.

Business workers were sent home to work remote, two years ago, and the vast majority don’t seem to be coming back – at least anywhere near full time.

I have always enjoyed attending conferences all over the country, and in years leading up to the conference, in Europe as well.

Conferences are good, but just as good, was meeting with customers, potential customers and partners, in their offices in the conference city.

I’d email them, letting them know I was on town and ask to get together. Seventy-five percent or more said yes.

Emails, phone calls, and today, Zoom calls, are great. But nothing matches a face to face meeting and the demonstration of care shown by traveling to meet people. Not everyone does.

My first trip to a conference since the start of the pandemic is this week in Chicago for the ABA TechShow.

I’ve emailed six people asking to get together. Only one response, and they said they were not going to be in the city this week, but wanting to jump on a call. Presumably they’re working at home.

My first reaction was that I had lost my touch or that nobody loves us anymore. My second was that there is so much spam email from wannabee salesperson that everyone just deletes them like I do.

Then I realized people are not around downtown.

Whether a lawyer, law firm marketing professional or a law school administrator, people are working at home, except on the rare day when they are in their downtown office – when they’re not inclined to be scheduling meetings with people from out of town.

While visiting my law school in Sacramento a month ago, I struck up a conversion with a business owner. He says he reaches out to customers and says he’ll come to them – a coffee shop close to their house.

Anyone comes to Seattle and offers to meet like that, I am there in a second. Working from can leave me stir crazy. I understand visits may not be possible for people with children.

So for now, I am not seeing customer visits an easy thing to arrange. I’ll get clever and offer to meet people close to their homes and I’ll get clever in how to connect with people via the Internet.

And if you want to get together in Chicago this Thursday or Friday, just holler. Coffee, lunch or a beer is on me.